When it comes to curries, these days most people can whip up a Thai green curry or something alike. Usually it involves a store bought paste, coconut cream, protein and some veg…easy! It might taste ok, but have you ever made the curry paste yourself? If you’ve done this before then I’m sure you understand the explosion of taste and aroma that is created and just how far above (nutritionally and tastefully) that the home made paste is.
My mum and I used to make this paste together, freeze it in portions and whip it out for an easy home cooked meal that is free from gross store bought vegetable oils and the insane amounts of sodium. The recipe involves making the paste, and then the curry. It may seem like a huge list of ingredients, but you can make it once and use it for months. The final product is nourishing, stimulating, health protective and all round satisfying.
//A recipe for GengDtaengPla from guest naturopath Mike Holm
the curry paste
24 dried red chillies, seeds removed and soaked for 15 mins
10 white peppercorns, crushed
2 stalks lemongrass, white part only
2 tbs galangal root
1 tbs chopped coriander root, usually removed in the supermarket but most Asian stores keep them attached. If not, use the stalk!
1 tsp fried shrimp paste
½ cup red shallots, peeled and chopped
½ cup chopped garlic
1 tbs peanut oil, if required
Add the peppercorns, lemongrass, galangal and coriander root to a food processor and blend until finely diced.
(mum’s original recipe)
Add the remaining ingredients and blend until a smooth paste is formed. This may take a while and require of peanut oil to help form a paste and reach a good smooth consistency. The end result should be smooth and a rich red colour.
2/3 cup curry paste (feel free to adjust this amount to taste)
450g Australian, sustainably farmed barramundi, chopped into 2cm cubes
500ml coconut cream, I can’t speak for any brands per say, but I know that “Ayam” use coconut and coconut only in their coconut cream
1 cup snow peas
1 bunch Chinese Broccoli, the best!
1 cup cooked quinoa, I used red, but it doesn’t matter….don’t discriminate!
In a saucepan, drizzle a little peanut oil and add the curry paste on a medium heat. Let the paste fry for about 2 minutes. You will notice the colour becomes deeper. WARNING: At this point your house will be filled with the beautiful smell of red curry paste and people will get jealous.
Next add the coconut cream and stir. Let this simmer for a couple of minutes. It’s also a good idea to put the quinoa on now. Rinse it thoroughly then add to a saucepan with 1.5 cups of water, cover with a lid until the water is gone!
Now it’s time to add the fish to the mix. Simply drop it into the curry and this will effectively stew the fish. It usually only takes a few minutes but don’t be afraid of leaving it to simmer. The fish will stay nice and soft.
After about 10-15 minutes, add the snow peas. These don’t need much time and we want them to stay a little ‘bitey’ so about 2 minutes is required.
Now the curry is basically ready and can be set aside off the heat. You’ve got the quinoa ready and it’s time to introduce the Chinese Broccoli. Never forget your greens. Chinese Broccoli will have your liver in tip top shape, your digestion functioning well and your immune system firing on all cylinders. Sautee this bad boy over high heat for 2 minutes with some diced garlic and olive oil. EASY!
Assemble the curry in a bowl with the quinoa and add the lime wedge, fresh coriander and diced red chilli. Go on, nourish yourself.
Mike Holm is a young natruropath in the making. He studies, runs, plays music and enjoys life. His goal is to influence, educate and inspire people to lead healthy, fulfilling lives through food and exercise, and it’s my lucky honour to have had him write a guest post.